I watched Before Sunset again last evening …and, once again, I cried. I immediately watched it once more for a third time – and cried again.
I’m not sure why it makes me so sad. You ask me if I see myself in Celine. As always, I’ll tell you, “No”, but that’s a lie – or at least a cop out. No, I don’t see myself in the naturally beautiful, angelic, smart and interestingly complex woman that is Celine, but I do see myself in the way she sees and reacts to love and relationships (at least who she has become nine years later in Sunset). The following could have been thoughts stolen from my brain…
Céline: I mean, I always feel like a freak because I’m never able to move on like (snaps her fingers) this! You know? People just have an affair or even…entire relationships…they break up and they forget! They move on like they would have changed brand of cereals! I feel I was never able to forget anyone I’ve been with. Because each person have…their own specific qualities. You can never replace anyone. What is lost is lost.
Each relationship when it ends really damages me; I never fully recover. That’s why I’m very careful with getting involved because…it hurts too much!. I guess when you’re young…you just believe there’ll be many people with whom you’ll connect with. Later in life you realize it only happens a few times.
You know, couples are so confused, uh lately. I think it must be that…men need to feel essential, and they don’t anymore. Because it’s been imprinted in their heads for so many years that they had to be the provider…like I, I’m a strong independent woman in my professional life. I don’t need a man to feed me but I still need a man to love me and that I could love, you know.
Jesse: Is that why you’re in a relationship with somebody who’s never around?
Céline: Yes, obviously, I can’t deal with the day to day life of a relationship. Yeah, we have, you know, this exciting time together and then he leaves, and I miss him, but at least I’m not dying inside. When someone is always around me, I’m like suffocating!
Jesse: No, wait, you just said that you need to love and be loved…
Céline: Yeah, but when I do it quickly makes me nauseous! It’s a disaster… I mean I’m really happy only when I’m on my own. Even being alone…it’s better than…sitting next to a lover and feeling lonely. It’s not so easy for me to be all romantic. You start off that way and after you’ve been screwed over a few times…you…you…you forget about all your delusional ideas and you just take what comes into your life. That’s not even true I haven’t been…screwed over, I’ve just had too many blah relationships. They weren’t mean, they cared for me, but… there were no real…connection or excitement. At least not from my side.
Jesse: God, I’m sorry, is it…is it really that bad? It’s not, right?
Céline: You know what? Reality and love are almost contradictory for me. It’s funny…every single of my ex’s…they’re now married! Men go out with me, we break up, and then they get married!
You know, I want to KILL them!! Why didn’t they ask ME to marry them? I would have said “No”, but at least they could have asked!! But it’s my fault, I know it’s my fault, because…I never felt it was the right man. Never! But what does it mean the right man? The love of your life? The concept is absurd; the idea that we can only be complete with another person is…EVIL!! RIGHT??!!
You know, I guess I’ve been heartbroken too many times. And then I recovered. So now, you know, from the starts I make no effort…because I know it’s not going to work out, I know it’s not going to work out.
I’m so miserable in my love life, in my relationship, I always act as… like…you know, I’m detached, but I’m… I’m dying inside. I’m dying because I’m so numb. I don’t feel pain, or excitement. I’m not even bitter, I’m just…uh…
This film also makes me sad because my deeply romantic side wants the story to be possible – that they meet after nine years, pick up where they left off, willingly sacrificing marriage and parenthood and a life in another country to finally be together. Unfortunately, I’ve lived as long as Jesse and Celine plus ten years and I know that these fairy tale endings don’t really happen. Love is never strong enough to usurp fear and a sense of duty. Even if he left his wife, he would never leave his son in New York to live in Paris and Celine would never leave the Paris she loves.
It’s funny, I remember the film ending with Celine saying “Baby, you are gonna miss…that…plane…”. I completely forgot that he responds with “I know”. The “I know” gives us more hope that he does stay – and more than just one night. It gives us hope that he decides, at that moment, that whatever the cost, he cannot lose her again. But I didn’t remember that – I remembered only that Celine brings him back to the moment of reckoning, ending on the ambiguous note.
As Jesse says about the ambiguous ending he’s written and whether they meet again in six month –
I think how you answer that, you know, is, uh…You know, it’s… It’s a good test. Right? If you’re a romantic or a cynic. I mean, uh, you think (pointing at the female reporter)…you think they get back together, (pointing at a second male reporter) you don’t, for sure, and (pointing at the questioner) you hope they do, but, you know, you’re not sure so that’s why you’re asking the question.
I’m afraid I’ve become the cynic – and perhaps that, finally, is what makes me so sad.